"Naoshima? Sorry it's closed..."

January 17th, 2013, 10am

5.45 AM. The alarm sounds.

We had previously decamped from Tokyo — via Kyoto — in readiness to make the trip. No coffee options this time of the morning in Osaka. Shinsaibashi subway was to be the start. Changes ahead. Umeda station. A couple of warm pear tarts for the ride. Shin-Osaka. We’re away. Okayama station. It’s mid winter; the changes are brisk, and increasingly deserted. A different train again awaits at Charamachi. The final run into Uno. Nice section of single track down to the seaside port. More than three hours have passed.

The ferry has just approached for the final leg to Naoshima. We scramble to the ticket vending machine and sort that out. A few weeks of negotiating vending machines sees us good. As we move towards the exit gate we are stopped.


Ah. We have missed the ferry. It’s okay. We’ll wait for the next one.

“Naoshima. Closed.”

Hmmm. Sorry?

An A4 ringed binder containing plastic sleeves is produced. A monthly calendar inside. Today’s date has a red cross through it. This can’t be good?!

“All galleries closed. Come back tomorrow. You can take the ferry over. Island open, but no point. All galleries closed. Come back tomorrow.”

Time has slowed down… I can see myself… I am Clark Griswold outside Walley World.

We stand in silence — for maybe a tad too long… A man is sent out from behind the glass as a peace offering.

“Maybe take a bus trip around Uno?” “Would that be good?” “Mmmm. Maybe okay.”

Tomorrow has not happened, yet.

(Postscript: we had a flight out of Tokyo the next day)

Chris, Cassie and Mona said thanks.

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Stephen Scott

Amateur. http://stephenscott.co @stphn

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